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Bulimia Nervosa- A Eating Disorder in Adolescence

Bulimia Nervosa is a disorder characterized by episodes of binge eating or very rapid intake of large amounts of high calorie food accompanied by self-induced vomiting to prevent weight gain.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders- 5th edition (DSM-V) defines the diagnostic criteria for bulimia nervosa. 

Diagnostic criteria of Bulimia Nervosa is :- 

Episodes of binge eating:

Patients are eating portions more significant than what most people would consume in a similar period (usually less than 2 hours) and under comparable conditions.

During eating episodes, the patient loses control and is unable to curb the servings he consumes.

Binging episodes are followed by inappropriate compensatory behavior to prevent weight gain:

• Self-induced vomiting

• Laxatives abuse

• Diuretic use

• Extreme physical activity

• Fasting

The episodes should occur at least once a week for three months to establish a diagnosis.

Adolescents fear that they will start gaining weight if they stop purging. It occurs in those who want to eat more but at the same time want to remain thin.

To get rid of calories and prevent weight gain, Adolescents with bulimia may use different methods. For example, they may regularly self-induce vomiting or misuse laxatives, weight-loss supplements, diuretics or enemas after bingeing. They may use other ways to rid themselves of calories and prevent weight gain, such as fasting, strict dieting or excessive exercise.

If you have any bulimia symptoms, seek medical help as soon as possible. If left untreated, bulimia can severely impact your health.

What are the causes bulimia nervosa?

The exact cause of bulimia nervosa isn’t known. But researchers think it may be a combination of genetics and learned behaviors.

Culture and the media put pressure on people to have a certain body type. It affects Adolescent’s mind & behaviour. These outside influences can affect the body image and self-esteem of the Adolescents. Also, feeling stressed, upset or out of control can all lead to bulimia.

What are the different complications that can occur due to bulimia nervosa. These are:- 

• Throat and stomach ulcers.

• Tooth decay and cavities.

• Esophagus inflammation (esophagitis) and tears.

• Damage to intestines and stomach damage.

• Electrolyte imbalance.

• Abnormal heart rhythm.

• Heart failure.

• Increased risk of suicide.

Bulimia Nervosa is a psychological disorder because it’s not only related to food but related to self-image of Adolescents also. It can be hard to overcome. But effective treatment can help to feel better about themselves adopt healthier eating patterns and reverse serious complications.

How to prevent bulimia nervosa?

Firstly, Be aware about the warning signs of Bulimia to catch the problem early. Early treatment can break unhealthy eating patterns before they become harder to overcome.

Educators and parents can also teach the Adolescents that ideal body type portrayed by the media is not realistic. In fact, it can be unhealthy and even unsafe.

Parents should interact with their teens, help to build their confidence & self esteem so Adolescents can feel positive image of their body.

How is bulimia nervosa treated?

Bulimia nervosa can be treated with the help of team of specialists including dietitians and mental health professionals. Treatments may include:

Psychotherapy: Bulimia Nervosa is a psychological eating disorder so cognitive-behavioral therapy is needed. It is a type of individual counseling. It focuses on changing your thinking (cognitive) and behavior (behavioral). Treatment includes techniques for developing healthy attitudes toward food and weight. 

Nutritional counseling: Nutritionist or Dietician at Fit and Cure provides healthier ways to eat & counsel about importance of nutrients during adolescence. Adolescents during Bulimia think that they can maintain their weight by vomiting but this concept is wrong so dietitian will change their perspective by counsel them. Dietician analyses the diet of patient & modify the diet according to need & interest of the Adolescents like more calories should be included in the diet, stop binging by adopting healthy snacks option.





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